Earlier this month I had the privilege of going to Calgary to take part in all the Stampede festivities. It’s one of the largest if not the largest rodeo that comes into town. The whole city gets behind the event, as there are social events, big bands, pancake breakfasts the whole works! If ever you have a few weeks off in the beginning of July I seriously suggest you go down and have a look for yourself, it really is a fantastic time!
While in Alberta I had the opportunity to play poker in two casinos. The Elbow River Casino in Calgary and the Yellowhead Casino in Edmonton. I must tip my hat to those running the show in both joints. The dealing is fast, the atmosphere is nice, they try to get you into the game as fast as possible and there is a lot of action on the tables. They also provide a complimentary late night meal, which really impressed me. In both poker rooms at around 4 a.m. the Elbow River Casino cooked up some fantastic pizzas and the Yellowhead Casino provide a small buffet with fruit, Shepard’s pie and some other little fixings. I must say this service goes a long, long way especially since there really is no place one could even possibly get food at that hour.
On with the report. While I was at the Elbow River Casino they offered a 4-8 and 10-20 Texas Hold’em game both with a full kill. I can’t be 100% sure but I do think they also play Omaha and a pot limit game as well. I found myself in the 4-8 game waiting to get onto the 10-20. Both games were filled with action, the players were polite and the staff was very friendly! If you’re ever in Calgary try looking them up, I’m sure you’ll have a good time there.
In Edmonton, the Yellowhead Casino offers a wide variety of games and limits depending on the night. While I was there they offered 3-6 Texas Hold’em, a 4-8 Slot Online game ½ hour of Texas Hold’em and ½ hour of Omaha, as well as a 15-30 ½ & ½ game. The 15/30 game broke up before I actually had a chance to sit down in it. And I thank my lucky stars for the coincidence. I was having enough difficulties playing Omaha at the 4-8 level. The transition between the two games was really enjoyable and it was interesting to watch how some players did modify their play depending on which game they were playing, while others still seemed to have the same playing style throughout the two games.
Eventually I became sick of the game of Omaha so I sat down to play 3-6 Texas Hold’em. The game was pretty decent given my expectations for 3-6, but there is one hand I played that I would like to share with you in hope to teach you all some sort of lesson.
I was in Seat 4… Seat 1 was a rookie, young kid who overcalled many hands and had little aggression, Seat 3 was a marginal player who understood good starting hands, but would still play any two suited, Seats 7 & 8 were some old timers, one was pretty tight and aggressive the other would overcall the turn and fold to the river. I was impressed with Seat 9’s play, a young/middle aged guy who just started playing. He played pretty conservatively for starting requirements but I watched him buy the occasional pot (that’s a move that definitely impresses me at the 3-6 level) and he wasn’t afraid to go over the top with a marginal hand if he thought he had the best hand. In Seat 10 was the ROCK! With his thick yellow glasses and motionless body, I watched him toss hand after hand away, he’d literally only play premium starting hands and would only re-raise with the all time nuts.
I wanted to chat up the table, giving a friendly image, while I started to juice the pots a little. My intention was to get people to start overcalling more frequently, sit back and start playing a tad tighter and capitalizing on the image. I had been raising with almost every Ax suited, pocket pairs, and suited over cards. Needless to say the table was starting to warm up a little bit. I was dealt Ac8d while 2nd to act. I simply smooth called which caused a few people to become suspicious, since my current starting hand play was either to raise or fold. Seat 7 calls (didn’t doubt that he would) then Seat 10 raises! (Well thanks for letting me know you had Aces!) This guy would probably only raise Aces or Kings, in fact I’m sure he’d just smooth call Queens to see the flop and then decide from there. I give the guy a little look like I’m concerned and call along with Seat 1 and Seat 2. The flop comes down 8,9,4. Typically in this game it has always been checked to the original raiser, not this time, I bet with two Seat 7 calls, Seat 10 raises and both the blinds fold. I call, Seat 7 thinks ½ a second and calls. Turn card is a 9, I immediately bet, Seat 7 folds his over cards and Seat 10 starts to think… I give him a little look then look away; I’m trying to look passive but acting strong so he doesn’t put me on the 9. He doesn’t, he raises, and I re-raise. At this point that was my only play that could’ve won the pot. A smooth call and he would’ve called the river bet regardless, and had I checked he would’ve bet believing he was best and wanted to see the river. The re-raise works as I watch him call with despairing body language. The river is of no help to him and I bet once more… the rock folds and I start to take in a big pot. My neighbor then asks, “What was your kicker.” I say, “You could take your pick, either a two or a three.” With the rock now on tilt, and the table calling me down I felt I had a decent edge to play out this table.